Thursday’s Column: Learning From Lehman
It was 2008, just 20 days shy of his 90th birthday, when Fred Baur died. On the way to the funeral home, his kids decided to stop at a nearby Walgreens to pick up some salty snacks. They debated for a bit, should it be sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese maybe? Larry and his siblings finally decided on Original.
You see, Fred adored his kids, but his passion was snacks. His accomplishments included a variety of frying oils and freeze-dried ice cream.
Fred was an American organic Chemist that had received both his masters and PhD at The Ohio State University, and it was 1966 when P&G came calling. Evidently, in the 1960s, there was a problem with the packaging and shipping of potato chips. By the time the consumer would pick up potato chips at a store, well, they were merely in pieces. This is where P&G thought Fred could help solve this problem.
After two years of experimentation, Fred developed a chip of dried potato flakes, added a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients, and cut them into thin hyperbolic paraboloids. With this shape, Fred could neatly stack his chips into his vacuum sealed tube.
By this time, you know that I am referring to Fred’s invention of Pringles, but the story doesn’t end there. Fred still wasn’t done with his invention.
There were problems:
First and foremost, they tasted like sawdust, so Fred spent another 2 years to improve the taste. Then, another issue. Frito-Lay sent lawyers because they said Fred’s chips weren’t potato chips at all because they were just 42% potato.
After some time and haggling, they decided to call them potato crisps.
He gave birth to an iconic brand that many of us still enjoy today. Through years of experimentation, development, and disappointments, lawyers-at one point P&G wanted to trash the idea.
But Fred persevered.
He was able to see his brand break 100 million in sales. He was able to see it break 500 million in sales. However, he wasn’t there in 2011 when P&G sold Pringles for almost 2.5 Billion Dollars.
That brings us back to 2008 when Fred’s children showed up to the funeral home with the Original flavored can of pringles. Fred’s wish was to have his ashes be placed in a Pringles can when he passed.
Fred got his wish.
As great as this story is, we wouldn’t have this story if it wasn’t for Fred’s perseverance. And as great as Fred’s perseverance was, we have so many examples of greater perseverance in the Bible.
Consider Joshua, Job, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and our greatest example of perseverance, Jesus. These are just a few of the many examples the Bible gives us.
Two points I want to quickly make about Perseverance, and the lesson is yours.
Number 1. WE HAVE A NEED FOR PERSEVERANCE.
It’s not a matter of if, but when…Christians Will Face Tribulations in Life. Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Christ never promised us that this life would be a bed of roses. The Gospel never said we’d go to Heaven on “flowery beds of ease.” Rather, we are promised that we shall have hardships and tribulations in this life, especially if we are faithful Children of God.
Only those who persevere receive the reward. Revelation 2:10-11 tells us, “ Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Number 2. PERSEVERANCE IS DEVELOPED IN TRIBULATION.
Romans 8: 18-28 can be summarized as this: Viewed in faith, tribulation is a friend rather than an enemy. I don’t know a lot of adversity that is necessarily fun, but we can learn from it, and we can grow from it.
In Deuteronomy 8, the Israelites failed to see the benefits of their trials.
In Numbers, we see there was an Exodus of over one Million Israelites.
We later see that only two Persevered and reached the promised land.
In 1 Corinthians and Hebrews, Paul admonishes us not to imitate the Israelites.
Rather than complain, rejoice in God’s work in your life.
Difficulties and trials would not normally be considered an occasion for joy but think about James and Paul and how they exhort us to look beyond the immediate pain and discomforts of trials to the lasting effect they have on the character of the Christian.
It is the development of our character, that should cause us to rejoice in adversity. Always remember who wins in the end.
We all have mountains to climb and sometimes holes to dig ourselves out of. Perhaps you want to begin to persevere and put on the armor of God through Baptism. There is no better time than now. Perhaps you’ve been baptized, and you’re currently trying so hard to climb the mountain that you’re on and you’ve had setbacks. We would love to help you reach the peak.